Blowtorching the Candle at Both Ends

                    The devil tempts the holy man in his holiness and the sinner in his sin[.]

                                        i. Stars of Fire

By 2020 will my hindsight
                    finally operate with perfect
                                        clarity, putting behind me a

decade that’s felt like a century?
                    Filling me with emptiness, grief’s knife-
                                        like energy looks like electricity, like

someone who has an open ear and
                    a closed mouth listening too attentively, facts
                                        misleading my glance to glimpse pages

that rip right through you, every time
                    my reflection turns its back on me
                                        a shadow asks, ‘Am I my own enemy?’ You

are the other that has no place or
                    control in the world, an ephemeral father
                                        whose arms are still fatal, it’s not affectation

when I describe myself as a misanthrope but
                    I’m an aching Achtung baby needing to be
                                        cradled when memories of that hug

bury me in its gripping fable,
                    a mistake welling-up at our walling-up of
                                        reunification, relentless

as the defence when I come across
                    the autopsy and see you opened
                                        on the exam table, testing its

evidence against what muscles and
                    marrow my galloping zoetrope
                                        of a mind permits me to recall,

your death’s kiss a guitar solo hitting me with
                    licks of regrets noting this could be
                                        a moment of great liberation,

questioning if those are your wounds redacted names
                    rundown in their martyrology,
                                        if all of these scars puzzled prosecutors when

                                        ii. Vigil Light

they couldn’t put you together again, whether
                    they are yours or ours, settling, instead,
                                        to fit your murder in that box where

restricted firearms better sit, a
                    hostility of silent witnesses much less
                                        likely to offend the insensitivities

of journeymen citizens whose views
                    of you have been retooled to make you
                                        less human, whose rubber necks bend with

elastic reaction and no repercussion
                    around bitter-end papers the noose-
                                        men sell them, a drag, but it’s just that

way when you’re alone, writing poems
                    with mascara, unblemished by the
                                        bruise of a mother’s malice yet imprisoned by

short sentences, courting damage after damage
                    has already taken off for another heart’s
                                        market, a broken foundling type throwing farthest

these seraph punches of lines blackening the eyes
                    of readers whose patience I try with
                                        this sounding rod of a voice my tongue

pushes down inside the meat of minds,
                    a quarrel of flies reporting on
                                        heaven’s abuse of your life choirs in

what we were forced then, and I am since,
                    to winnow from jaws buzzing with the
                                        hum of a hundred thousand laws no

one can enforce, their illusions of
                    significance and protection, worst
                                        of all what’s left of the belief I

had in them, that if you fell I’d hold
                    you the way dirt holds trees, nourishing
                                        them when they are low so they grow tall.

1Father Cesar Truqui, interviewed by Stephanie Kirchgaessner in “‘Christ was the first exorcist’: priest reports rising demand for the ritual” of the “News: World: Religion: Christianity: Catholicism” section of the online International Edition of The Guardian, published at London by Guardian News and Media Limited on April 11, 2018; link.